Well today's blog is to document a disaster. My oldest friend recently gave birth to my third god-child and so Miss A and I are off on the long trek home this weekend to visit them. In truth, it's not really a long trek; it just takes about as much planning as a military assault as any parent of a toddler will know. There's the stair gate; booster seat; the buggy; her toy pram; a million changes of clothes; food (my mother doesn't have porridge, cheerios or peanut butter); assorted stuffed toys which won't be the right ones when it comes to bed time. The list is endless. And then we'll get there and I'll realise I've packed no clothes for me and forgotten my phone charger.
I'd had high hopes when I dragged myself out of bed at stupid o'clock this morning. I'd had a rubbish night's sleeps thanks to a pulled back muscle from yesterday. Caused not by my run but by trying to do the zip up on a dress. Seriously, can someone design a better way to do up dresses??? But all this was going to be made better by some cupcakes based on Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey cake recipe.
Hokey Pokey cake is an offering from New Zealand. Basically a coffee flavoured sponge, spiked with chopped walnuts. Then sandwiched with coffee butter cream and topped with more butter cream and walnut praline. Coffee cake is my favourite cake and it's one of those cakes that rarely fails to please when bought from a coffee shop. My friend's hubby loves my coffee cake. I should've stuck with my old faithful recipe but thought I'd give Dame Mary's cake a go instead.
I wanted to make it as cupcakes as my friend's son has a nut allergy so, I omitted the walnuts from the sponge and thought I could decorate half with coffee and chocolate and then keep back some others for home and decorate them with the walnut praline.
Chuffed with myself for my organisational skills, I even used a tip I picked up over Christmas from Junior Bake Off about how to neatly fill cupcake cases - by using a piping bag. They went into the oven and this is where I came unstuck. For they mushroomed up and overflowed.
No problem, thought I. I'll just turn them into coffee cake pops. Something I'd been wanting to have a go at for ages; but I never have any spare sponge to do so and it seems such a waste to make sponge just to crush it up. But then I broke one open and it tasted horribly greasy. So they are binward-bound.
What did I do wrong? I think it's me and baking powder. The recipe called for 225g of self-raising flour. Having none, I followed the instructions on my tub of baking powder that I needed four level teaspoonsful to turn plain to self-raising. I should've known better as last time I tried this method with my favourite chocolate cake recipe, it overflowed its tin and welded itself to the bottom of my oven.
And my new oven and it's random cooking of baked goods doesn't help either. I have a feeling the temperature wasn't right as they took ages to set. Really must buy an oven thermometer to get the proper measure of what's going on. Cake after cake after cake in that oven just never cooks as per the recipe.
Lesson learned. Back to the drawing board for another day. Shall have to wait until this recipe comes up in the Weekly Bake Off and give it another go!
If you want to see how they should've looked, take a gander at this blog I found about how to make them properly.